Team: Los Angeles Kings
After an underachieving 2015 season, the Kings held the division for pretty much the entire season, only to piss it away in a shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on the last game of the season. This ensured them a playoff matchup with the Sharks, where after a 2-0 series deficit, everything seemed to be going according to their plan:
He must've been referring to himself, because the Kings didn't win another game in this series, falling in five games to the Sharks. Each game, the Kings fell to a 3-0 deficit, only to try- and just fail- to rally back.
Hmm, I think I found the fatal flaw in this team: maybe don't give up a giant lead because you came back from it that one time two years ago. This after they rode a slow start (a la 2012) to a ninth-place finish in 2015. The Kings are that college student that starts his term paper at 2 AM the day it's due because it totally worked out once.
Your Head Coach
It was a close call, but this guy will be coming back for his sixth season with the Kings!
Darryl Sutter is weird and amazing. He's basically a more successful Jim Tomsula.
Your Starting Goalie
Southern California's largest consumer of adult diapers is still the starting goalie, because this is a thing that happened:
To clarify, that's 10 years after next year -- so 11 years in total of our goaltender being better than yours.— #LAKings (@LAKings) June 28, 2012
The Best Goalie In The World According to Kings Fans was slightly better than Cam Talbot last season, then followed that up by getting dominated in the first round by Martin Jones. The same Martin Jones that used to back him up. The same one they traded to acquire a single season of Milan Lucic. That one. That's the guy.
Also, they signed Jeff Zatkoff in the offseason so that Quick could finally have a backup that isn't way better than him. Fifth time's a charm!
New Things That Suck
Speaking of Kings that cashed in on one good season, Dustin Brown has been relinquished of the "C" in LA, presumably because management wanted a leader that was actually literate. Taking his place will be Walking Dead star Anze Kopitar.
Also, Drew Doughty won a Norris he didn't deserve because more than half of NHL sportswriters don't like Europeans. On that note, we should remind folks in the LA area to leave their garbage bins and dumpsters closed and secured at night so that you don't attract unwanted visits from Drew Doughty.
Brought back Teddy Purcell to really bring back their old glory days of mediocrity. Might as well get Alex Frolov back while you're at it. Or how about Yutaka Fukufuji to back up Quick? For the 99% of you Kings fans that are confused because you did not even know what hockey was until 2012, the joke here is that these players played for the Los Angeles Kings prior to that. When the team wasn't any good.
Things That Still Suck
Mike Richards may be as long-gone as Dean Lombardi's credibility, but the cap hit- oh, boy, the cap hit will last forever. Pursuant to a settlement with the Kings, Richards is getting paid until he's 47 years old, including a hefty $3 million this year. All of this, of course, occurred because the Kings tried to terminate Richards' contract for extending his strong possession numbers to an international border.
The real reason is that Richards was getting worse and worse, and Lombardi would've rightfully been smacked down for that; but that sure didn't stop him from playing the victim in a scenario he concocted:
"Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career," Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to The Times on Friday. "At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now-and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.
"Anyone close enough to me knows how much I loved Mike Richards. I believed that when I had acquired him, I had found my own Derek Jeter. But the fact is that he was never close to the player that he was after his best seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 in Philadelphia. His production dropped 50% and the certain 'it' factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily. This is a player that in 2010 was instrumental in Canada's gold medal run and by 2014, while still in his prime, was not even in the conversation for making the team."
Phew! I was worried for a second Lombardi wouldn't be able to find a way to make this whole thing about him! This, of course, from the same guy who stood idly by while his defenseman brutally beat his wife, then ate a six-figure fine to let him practice despite an ongoing NHL suspension. He felt lied to by his "Derek Jeter" protege, only to react to Slava Voynov's legal troubles along the lines of "He's just a little deported; it's still good! It's still good!"
The saddest thing in this whole mess is that Richards isn't even the worst contract on this team. They have approximately $34MM- almost half the salary cap- tied up in six long-term contracts, with Doughty needing a new deal somewhere in there. Dustin Brown is eating almost $6MM on their fourth line until 2022. Jeff Carter is paid until he's almost 40, while they're responsible for keeping Marian Gaborik in bubble wrap until 2021. Did I forget to mention Tyler Toffoli is gonna get paaaaaaid this offseason? Lombardi is either gonna have to plant drugs on someone, or pay Toffoli in cupcakes. They're screwed.
Frankly, no fanbase deserves as team as morally reprehensible and brutally overpaid as Los Angeles, because that sums these people up to a T. They are vapid, soulless, front-running, pill-popping, Botox-injecting, celebrity-fanboying, Wil Wheaton-having turd burglars. They deserve to endure every second of this has-been shell of a once-was champion. I can't wait for the Lakers to get good again so we never have to hear from Kings fans again. It'll be like an ugly chapter in history from which we can all move on, like Cooperalls, or the Bay of Pigs.
Also, they employ Rob Scuderi. I could've just started the preview with that and stopped there, but what can I say? I like to be thorough.
Why You Might Not Suck
The Pacific has three good teams, and one of them now employs Randy Carlyle. God, what a pathetic division. It's the NL West of hockey.